Connecting the dots: inside the collaboration between Yayoi Kusama & Louis Vuitton
Yayoi Kusama is an eclectic Japanese artist famous for her dotty-art, Louis Vuitton a worldwide renowned luxury brand, famous for its monogrammed bags. In 2012, they came together, launching a unique and yet the most varied collection of this brand. Including one of the most iconic series of sunglasses.
Yayoi Kusama, who was born in 1929, started early her artistic career inspired by European and American avant-garde. When she settled in New York in the 50s, she embraced abstract expressionist and the pop art movement. In 1993 at Venice biennale she created a series of bright coloured polka-dot pumpkin sculptures which became for her a kind of alter-ego or self-portrait.
“A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement ... Polka dots are a way to infinity”.
In 2012 Marc Jacobs, at that time creative director of Louis Vuitton, firmly believing in the connection between art and fashion, invited Yayoi Kusama for the largest artist collaboration initiated by any luxury goods or fashion house to date, encompassing leather goods, ready-to-wear, shoes, watches and jewellery.
The Louis Vuitton stores were brighten-up by polka-dot bags, dresses, shoes and accessories: a disruptive innovative change for a brand famous for the classical monogramme.
The collaboration included one of the most iconic sunglasses’ collection, inspired by Yayoi Kusama famous pattern, declined in three colours: bright red with white dots, yellow with black dots, optical white with black dots.
The collection was a massive success and went immediately sold out. Marc Jacobs revitalised Louis Vuitton business, giving an arty touch and transforming the classical monogram bag into a seasonal must-have. At the same time, Louis Vuitton involvement in Yayoi Kusama’s art attracted vast coverage from media, making her into an international household name.